Will writing services
Making a Will is one of the most important things you can do to protect your loved ones and your assets. Our wills team is here to help you plan for the future.
Making a Will in Scotland
Wills not only ensure that your money, property and possessions go to those you wish to benefit, but also allows you to appoint Guardians to look after your young children, leave legacies to charities and make funeral arrangements. Having an up-to-date Will gives your family the security of knowing they have been provided for and gives you peace of mind because you know everything is in order.
We would recommend always having an up-to-date Will but there are particular milestones when we would recommend reviewing or updating your Will such as:
- Buying your first home
- Moving in with someone
- Getting married
- Having children
- Starting or selling your own business
- Changing jobs
- Separation or divorce
- Illness in the family
- Inheriting from a family member or a friend
Your wishes may also change, along with the value of assets you possess throughout your life, so having an up-to-date Will is essential. If you have an existing Will we can review and, where necessary, update it for you.
Common questions about making a Will in Scotland
A Will is a written document stating what you would like to happen to your estate (this includes property, cash and personal possessions) when you die. You choose the person you want to administer your estate, called an executor and the person or people you want to leave your belongings to, called your beneficiaries. Your Will may also provide information on your domicile, who you want to look after your children and your funeral instructions.
A Will lets you plan who receives what and when. It is a very flexible document and can be tailored to ensure that your final wishes are met. It also allows someone with a large estate to engage in Inheritance Tax planning.
If you die without leaving a Will, which is known as intestacy, then after your debts and liabilities are paid your estate will be distributed in a particular order:
Your spouse or civil partner will be entitled to “Prior Rights”. They will inherit your interest in the house, but only if they are ordinarily resident there, up to a value of £473,000; furniture up to a value of £29,000 and an entitlement to £50,000 cash (if you have children) or £89,000 if you die leaving no children. Should you be separated from your spouse or civil partner they will still be entitled to these rights although they won’t get your interest in your home if they have not been living there.
If there is any estate left after Prior Rights, your spouse/civil partner and children, if any, are entitled to Legal Rights. If you have children, it will mean that your spouse/civil partner will be entitled to a further one-third of your moveable estate or one-half of your moveable estate if you die leaving no children. Your children would also be entitled to a one-third share of your moveable estate if you left a spouse or civil partner and equally, a one-half share if you had no spouse or civil partner.
The remainder of your estate would then be distributed in accordance with a hierarchy set out by the Succession (Scotland) Act where your parents and/or siblings may be entitled to a share of your estate.
Making a Will should not be a lengthy process. One of the biggest myths of all is that making a Will takes a lot of time, energy and money. In reality, all it takes is an hour or two of your time and normally it is a fairly straightforward process.
Whilst it is important to make a Will, it is equally important to regularly review your Will. Changing personal circumstances over time such as divorce, marriage, remarriage and having children are likely to mean that any existing Will you have needs to be updated. By regularly reviewing the terms of your Will, you will be reassured that your estate goes to the person or people that you want to receive it.
We recommend having a conversation with a member of our team – that way we can ensure that we create a Will that meets your individual needs.
Once you are happy that the draft reflects your wishes, we can arrange the signing. You need to sign the Will in front a witness (which we can provide) and then we can look after the original Will for safekeeping, free of charge.
Making a Will is usually inexpensive, can take as little as an hour of your time, and avoid a lot of unnecessary distress and expense at a later time.
If you don’t make a Will you risk leaving your possessions to the mercy of outdated rules and court processes which take no account of your wishes.
The lack of a Will, or a poorly drafted Will, could have significant implications for inheritance tax problems, which could be easily avoided.
Once signed, your Will must be kept in a safe place. At Harper Macleod LLP, clients typically opt to have the original Will stored in our fireproof safe and have a copy sent to them for their records. If you would like to hold the original, however, it is your right to do so.
Our experienced solicitors will be happy to discuss all of the available options to help you make suitable arrangements whilst maintaining your wishes for the future. The key to successful estate planning is not only to start early but to re-visit the plan at regular intervals so as to ensure that your wishes are continually met, no matter what life may throw at you. If further advice on this matter is required, please contact us.
“We would like to say how pleased we were with the whole process. Jacqueline Leslie made everything as easy as possible and answered all our questions in a down to earth way that made it easy for us to understand.”
“A friend had assured me that I could expect a very high standard of service to be provided by your law firm. I am in a position to endorse this recommendation to the extent that I can say that I have been very pleased with the excellent work carried out by Julie Doncaster to create my new will.”
“The service received was both efficient and friendly. The manner in which our business was conducted (including explanations/ clarifications) helped us to better understand the various legal situations and options available.”
“My will had to be written afresh with time constraints and the service I received was excellent. Cinzia Duncan dealt with everything very efficiently and expeditiously. It was a pleasure to consult with her on this matter.”
“For 15 years Pamela Niven has taken care of me and my business after a sudden bereavement. Thank you for being there for me.”
“Over the years your services have been a great assistance to me and I have complete confidence in the friendly and extremely efficient manner in which they are given.”
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